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All this, and Welsh too.
The Brecon Beacons National Park

As a child I was once commended for an essay based on Greek Mythology I’d written in green ink for a school competition. I was called to the Headmaster’s office and given a gold star and a vote of encouragement from the kindly Mr Thomas. As I was more interested in drawing I logged the experience in my mind as a skill fallback that might be developed if I ever needed it. There has always been a nagging doubt that it might have only stood out because of the green ink.

I began writing as an adult when my sons…

That which we cannot see.

“That which we cannot see”. Multiple self portrait. Oil on gessoed linen. © Simon Goss MA 2019

I recently painted a self portrait for my wife’s birthday. While considering the composition and clumsily trying to set up a pair of mirrors in my studio, it occurred to me that I am more than a little unfamiliar with the back of my head. I adjusted the mirrors so that I would have a view from directly behind. I found that I have an interesting head. Who’d have guessed?

I have a 55 year old’s lived-in face, I would describe my looks as unusual. I lost my hair as a young man and grew…

A brush with reality.

Marsh Road, Llanrhydian, Gower, Wales.

In the past year I have begun to paint landscapes, “au plein air”. I have never been a huge fan of the genre, in part perhaps, because I grew up in a beautiful part of the world, surrounded by a constantly changing landscape of drama and beauty. I therefore didn’t have the gap in my soul that needed filling by paintings or photographs of views similar to the ones I witnessed every day of my life. …

His grandfather swore by them. His grandmother would boil a brace of them in a large, scratched and battered, stainless steel saucepan for hours to render down the gelatinous feet and release the tender, melting meat. She served them with white cabbage to make as colourless and unappetising a meal as you could wish to see. If half the eating was done with the eyes this was a meal for the blind. The smell, mind you, was nothing to write home about either. By the time the trotters were ready, the kitchen smelled like a glue factory.

Having grown up…

We all have to cut the lawn (if we have one, obviously). I take a fair bit of pride in mine, feeding and weeding it in the spring and cutting it regularly from then on into late autumn. On average the weekly cutting takes me about twenty minutes, depending on how long it’s grown since the last trim.

When we moved here I soon realised that my aged Flymo was not up to the larger task of our new sub-Arms-Park sized lawn. I invested in a rather swish petrol engined Briggs-Stratton machine with an eighteen inch cutting blade. Overnight I…

In a dreamlike state, I imagine myself falling through time and space, tumbling down from way up in the stratosphere. Earth rises up fast to meet me as I drop, and the period I’m falling into is revealed as I get closer. The sky is relatively clear with just the odd jet trail, the air is cleaner as the Seventies dawns. There is still smog and lead-laden petrol fumes but there are also more trees to absorb the toxins and more birds and insects in this less populated age.

My country, and soon my hometown, come into focus as the…

It was a nagging, wheedling cry. Insistent and needy, reaching down from the little blue boxroom, magnified by the hallway and into the living room where she sat, quietly knitting.

The sound gnawed at a part of her mind that was struggling to resist. And she was having such horrible thoughts. Shut up. Shut up! Shut. The FFUCKK. UPPP! screamed the voice in her head, though she never once swore out loud, even when alone.

It had been a difficult birth. She’d been very unwell and took a cosseted while to recover, but four months later she was still not…

She couldn’t afford much now her husband had gone. Besides, it wasn’t worth buying a joint anymore, unless she felt like eating the same meat every day for a week. She liked the odd chop, but they were expensive for what they were. Truth be told, her frugal meals were mostly from tins. Spam, Chopped Ham and Pork, Pink Salmon (Red being too extravagant), occasionally Sardines and Corned Beef, if she’d been good. She didn’t need much anyway, had always led a Spartan existence even when her husband was alive.

He wasn’t exactly extravagant either, although he did like his…

Simon Goss

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